Scene in San Diego
NBC 7 San Diego
There are so many things to love about San Diego: food, craft beer, top chefs, cool hangouts, scenic sights, and free or cheap ways to enjoy our city.In these times of COVID-19, navigating the places and things we love to do in our city has undoubtedly changed. Monica Garske, lead editor of NBC 7's The Scene, and Candice Woo, Eater San Diego's
On this episode of our podcast, Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater, we dive deep into an industry synonymous with San Diego’s waterfront culture: the fishing industry. How are local fishermen weathering the pandemic storm? Instead of going at it solo, they’re choosing to work together.Ever since the coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego County in mid-March, the shutdowns and restrictions for local restaurants have heavily impacted business for local fishermen. How are they moving seafood these days? How are they staying afloat?To talk fishing and the hospitality industry, we’re joined by two guests: Pete Halmay and Chef Phillip Esteban.Halmay is the president of the nonprofit San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group and the director of San Diego’s beloved Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. On the podcast, Halmay talks about just how things have changed over the past six months for local fishermen – and how he’s determined to bring anglers together for the greater good.Esteban – a National City native who’s made his rounds on “Chopped” on The Food Network – is part of the team behind Open Gym, a local group that runs Craft Meals Catering, a group focused on making a positive impact on the San Diego community through locally-sourced food.Esteban has several local upcoming projects on the docket including White Rice, a Filipino rice bowl food stall in Liberty Public Market, Wordsmith, a culinary shop and bookstore, and WellFed, a Filipino restaurant in his hometown of National City.In the middle of the pandemic madness, Halmay and Esteban have come up with a way to work together through a program called Fish to Families that helps local fishermen, the hospitality industry and San Diegans in need.So, there will be no sinking here, despite the tough times – only swimming and making it work.For more content from The Scene, visit this website. For more content from Eater San Diego, click here. And, to read our collaboration content with Eater and The Scene every week, click here.The Scene in San Diego Feat. Eater Podcast is hosted by NBC 7’s Monica Garske and Eater San Diego’s Candice Woo, and produced by NBC 7’s Matthew Lewis.
On this episode of our podcast, Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater, we talk about the latest changes to our county’s reopening under the state’s new, color-coded tier system, and what this means specifically for the local restaurant industry. We also explore another unique, local tasting event gone virtual – and it’s all about cheese.So, can you dine indoors at a restaurant now? Yes – but you guessed it – there are still lots of rules.Meanwhile, on our ongoing search for unique, local, online food experiences, we explore tasting events led by the longtime San Diego shop, Venissimo Cheese. We’re joined by Gina Freize, co-owner of Venissimo, who shares how her shop has taken its famous tastings to the digital realm. Her specialty business really relies on that close community interaction and so, in these times of COVID, her shop has had to adapt and figure out how to make it work.For more content from The Scene, visit this website. For more content from Eater San Diego, click here. And, to read our collaboration content with Eater and The Scene every week, click here.The Scene in San Diego Feat. Eater Podcast is hosted by NBC 7’s Monica Garske and Eater San Diego’s Candice Woo, and produced by NBC 7’s Matthew Lewis.
On this episode of our podcast, Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater, we talk about how one well-known local distillery is still hosting tasting events – at home – and how these kinds of events are one way for San Diegans to take part in our local food and drink scene.Before the coronavirus pandemic, Cutwater Spirits would host its “Sensory Experience” cocktail pairings at its 250-seat tasting room and restaurant in Miramar. Those tastings have shifted online, still expertly-led by the brand’s director of quality and innovation, Gwen Conley.Cutwater Spirits founder and master distiller Yuseff Cherney joins us to talk about how, exactly, those virtual tastings work. He also talks to us about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on his distillery – and how Cutwater is managing to keep those canned cocktails moving, despite today’s unique set of COVID-19 challenges.Of course, as some San Diego companies find ways to keep business going, others must, sadly, throw in the towel. The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has forced many beloved local restaurants and bars to permanently close. This week we talk about another closure that really hurts: Jayne’s Gastropub on 30th Street in San Diego’s uptown area.Episode 5 Show NotesVirtual Cutwater Spirits: A Sensory ExperienceThese days, everyone’s comfort level is different when it comes to going out or staying home. Since practically everything’s gone virtual during the pandemic, we’ve been exploring some cool, local events that have taken that route.One of those events comes from San Diego-based distillery, Cutwater Spirits.It’s called “Sensory Spirits Experience” and it is a (usually) monthly class that pairs Cutwater’s cocktails with small bites. The brand’s next tasting will be held on Aug. 28 at 5:30 p.m. live on Cutwater’s Instagram account., for California-based consumers only. Here’s how it works: Customers pre-order the tasting kits here – either for home delivery or pickup at Cutwater’s Miramar tasting room. The kits include all the drinks and snacks that’ll be paired during the virtual class, plus instructions on how to plate the goodies when it’s time. The kits cost $25.This time, the class will focus on these three spirits from Cutwater: Black Skimmer Rye Whiskey (a 50ML bottle); Cutwater Opah (a 50ML bottle); Cutwater’s Paloma canned cocktail.Then, at the set time and date, Conley will lead the virtual tasting event, offering her rich knowledge and unique perspective on which cocktails pair well with which snacks.Cheers to that. Guest Interview: Yuseff Cherney, Cutwater Spirits Founder & Master Distiller Cherney joined our Scene in San Diego Ft. Eater podcast to talk about how Cutwater shifted those tastings online and why they’re both fun and educational for cocktail enthusiasts.“We have a fantastic partner in Gwen Conley,” he said. “She calls herself the ‘Sensory Goddess.’ And now she’s sending out these little care packages.” “She’s been able to go online and host these experiences, so people feel like they’re still connected to the brand and being able to experience these new products that we offer,” Cherney explained. “The Sensory Experience is not only an educational tool; it tends to expand the horizons of folks who maybe didn’t think of pairing a cocktail with food, you know? They were thinking wine or beer,” he added. “The expertise she has is amazing.”Cherney also talks to us about how Cutwater Spirits has been lending a hand in the community.Early in the pandemic, the distillery was one of more than a dozen members of the San Diego Distillers Guild that started producing hand sanitizer, donating it to places in need. Meanwhile, the Cutwater Spirits tasting room and kitchen in Miramar has been hosting free lunch pick-up events for local restaurant and bar industry workers impacted by the pandemic. Cherney knows times are hard for the industry, and small things like that can help.Although Cherney is fortunate enough to be able to keep his brand going during these challenging times, he talks about some obstacles along the way – like not being able to sell Cutwater’s signature canned cocktails at Petco Park during this year’s modified MLB season. The downtown San Diego ballpark is normally a huge stage for the brand when the Padres play at home, with actual live fans in the stands.He also talks about changes at the Cutwater Spirits tasting room.As Cherney touches on the future of local distilleries weathering the COVID-19 crisis, he also gives us the scoop on some new spirits and cocktails that are in the works, including a heavy-hitting, canned Long Island Iced Tea.For more content from The Scene, visit this website. For more content from Eater San Diego, click here. And, to read our collaboration content with Eater and The Scene every week, click here.The Scene in San Diego Feat. Eater Podcast is hosted by NBC 7’s Monica Garske and Eater San Diego’s Candice Woo, and produced by NBC 7’s Matthew Lewis.
On episode four of our podcast, Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater, we talk about a few of the new restaurants that have managed to open in San Diego during the coronavirus pandemic – despite restaurant rollbacks and ongoing restrictions.One of those debuts is the long-awaited Portside Pier dining complex along San Diego’s North Embarcadero, a $25 million project five years in the making from Brigantine, Inc. To talk about that project, we’re joined by our guest, Mike Morton Jr., co-owner of the Brigantine Inc. Morton discusses how Portside Pier plans to operate safely in these times of COVID-19.Of course, it’s not just about what’s newly open these days in our local food and drink scene. Sadly, we’ve also lost many beloved San Diego restaurants to the economic impact of the pandemic. We touch on a few of those closures, too.Episode 4 Show Notes: San Diego Restaurant OpeningsLast month, public health officials ordered San Diego County restaurants to shut down their indoor dining rooms – the second time that’s happened since the coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego County in mid-March. Restaurants are still allowed to operate, only they must move all dining areas outside. San Diego County remains on California’s monitoring list, and that means those restrictions will likely continue, at least for now.Despite these restrictions, there have been some restaurant openings across San Diego’s dining landscape over the past few months. We take you to three of those debuts in three parts of town: the Gaslamp Quarter, Liberty Station, and the downtown waterfront.3 San Diego Restaurants That Have Opened During the PandemicLumi (Gaslamp Quarter)The indoor dining ban continues to be tough on restaurants, but San Diego’s weather does give us a bit of an advantage when it comes to the shift towards outdoor dining. Lumi opened in late June in the Gaslamp, before the dine-in ban. Since it’s a rooftop restaurant, it has been able to stay open. Lumi serves Japanese-Peruvian cuisine and the chef behind the restaurant, Akira Back, has a Michelin-starred restaurant in Asia and an expansive global portfolio.The Presley (Liberty Station)Over at Liberty Station, The Presley recently opened, a family-friendly, mostly-outdoor eatery from Good Time Design – the same group that runs The Blind Burro and Moonshine Flats. This space works for the times we’re in: 2,070 square feet of the property is entirely dedicated to patio dining. On Executive Chef Todd Nash’s menu, patrons will find everything from flatbreads, sandwiches, and salads to dishes such as everything-crusted seared ahi, mussels with linguica and lobster broth. The drink menu includes such concoctions las the Dole Whip mimosa, frozen gin fizz, and classic lava flow – just the right selections for a boozy Sunday brunch.The Presley replaces Fireside by The Patio at Liberty Station, one of The Patio Group restaurants formerly owned by embattled business executive Gina Champion-Cain, who recently pleaded guilty to defrauding investors in a $400 million Ponzi scheme. That’s, of course, a story for another day, which you can catch up on here. Oh, and to read more about how Liberty Station is embracing the outdoor dining trend amid pandemic-related restrictions, check this out.Portside Pier (Embarcadero)The final stop on our tour of a few recent openings is Portside Pier along downtown’s waterfront. Portside Pier is a $25 million project from the Brigantine, Inc., featuring four restaurant concepts housed in one complex: Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar; Miguel’s Cocina; Ketch Grill & Taps; and Portside Coffee & Gelato.Five years in the making, the 42,000-square-foot Portside Pier is part of the Port of San Diego’s redevelopment of the North Embarcadero. The restaurant hub sits on a familiar site: San Diego dining staple Anthony’s Fish Grotto operated for more than 50 years at that location. (Disclosure: Monica Garske’s husband works for Brigantine Inc.) Brigantine Inc. was among the many companies that bid for this prime waterfront location after Anthony’s time there was up five years ago.Guest Interview: Mike Morton, Jr., of Brigantine, Inc., & Portside PierThe Brigatine Inc.’s Mike Morton Jr. joined us on this episode of our podcast to talk about how the Portside Pier project came together – pandemic and all.“We were about 4 months from finishing the project when the shutdown happened,” he explained.The company continued to build, not really knowing if they’d be able to open the property as planned.But they pressed on and were fortunate enough to open.With more than half of Portside Pier’s 1,000 seats situated on the property’s scenic patios, Morton Jr. called the outdoor-friendly layout of the property “fortuitous,” given our currently public health restrictions.“We’ve got a ton of outdoor space here. We didn’t have a crystal ball – we just got lucky,” he added.With Portside Pier in a high-traffic, iconic location, it’s bound to attract a lot of people. But, during a pandemic, crowds must be curbed for public safety. Morton Jr. shares how his team plans to use reservations, social distance protocols and other measures to keep the restaurant, customers, and employees safe as the pandemic continues.Morton Jr. said reservations are highly encouraged, via Open Table.3 San Diego Restaurants That Have Permanently Closed During the PandemicWhile these restaurant openings are great news for our food and drink scene, there’s just no denying the other side: the permanent closure of some local eateries. The restaurant industry has been hugely impacted by the pandemic, and it’s unfortunately resulted in a wide range of eateries across San Diego having to close – and not just during the pandemic shutdowns, but for good. Both NBC 7 and Eater San Diego are keeping a running list of shuttered restaurants on our websitesThe Balboa Bar and GrillKnown for its burgers, The Balboa Bar and Grill in Bankers Hill recently closed to the disappointment of its many, many fans. The Fifth Avenue bar was small, dark, and cozy – all qualities that don’t align with current health orders. An offshoot of The Balboa, which opened last year in Chula Vista and has patio seating, will continue to operate. If you’re still hankering for that Balboa burger fix (ahem, guilty), Eater has details on that Chula Vista location here.WhisknladleAnother big, surprising closure was that of Whisknladle, which had been on Wall Street in La Jolla for the past 12 years. Well-respected for its farm-to-table menu, the restaurant had snagged a spot on Eater’s list of the 38 essential restaurants in San Diego. The group behind the restaurant still has Catania in La Jolla as well as Gravity Heights and Park Commons in the Sorrento Mesa area.Waypoint PublicOur final closure of this episode is in North Park and that is Waypoint Public. Though it’s been open for seven years on 30th Street, the gastropub’s owner has put it up for sale, saying that the business can’t survive on the fraction of normal sales it’s currently doing due to the pandemic. As a 5,000-square-foot restaurant that has just a small patio, the numbers just don’t add up. If you enjoyed this episode of the Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater Podcast, subscribe, rate and review us on your favorite podcasting platform: HYPERLINK to Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher.For more content from The Scene, visit this website. For more content from Eater San Diego, click here. And, to read our collaboration content with Eater and The Scene every week, click here.The Scene in San Diego Feat. Eater Podcast is hosted by NBC 7’s Monica Garske and Eater San Diego’s Candice Woo, and produced by NBC 7’s Matthew Lewis.
On episode three of Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater, we talk about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our city’s craft breweries as the industry continues to adapt to challenges. We also explore an ambitious new brewery that recently opened in Mission Valley – but not without its own COVID-19 obstacles.We are joined by our guest, Paige McWey Acers, from the San Diego Brewers Guild to give us an update on San Diego’s craft beer industry in these tough times. McWey Acers has helped lead the guild for over seven years and currently serves as its executive director. She previously worked for Karl Strauss Brewing Company.Current Public Health Rules for San Diego’s Breweries & Tasting RoomsSan Diego’s breweries/tasting rooms first temporarily closed in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic hit San Diego County. At that point, many craft brewers turned to canning, curbside pickup, merch sales, beer delivery and shipping to survive. Breweries were allowed to reopen in late May 2020 – if they served food, on the same transaction as beer. Many of San Diego’s independent brewers slowly reopened their tasting rooms, finding ways to bring food sales into the mix and adapt to the pandemic-related public health guidelines (social distancing, masks, signage, etc.) necessary to operate.On July 1, more change jolted the industry. San Diego County public health leaders amended the Public Health Order to include the closure of breweries (and bars) that DO NOT serve food. The order excluded wineries and distilleries that have outdoor tasting rooms; those are still allowed to operate but must do so outdoors.Weeks later, breweries in San Diego County can only operate outdoors, if they also sell food, all in the same transaction. Many breweries are partnering with caterers, restaurants and food trucks to follow those rules, but it’s still a challenge.San Diego County remains on California’s COVID-19 monitoring list through at least July 27, with these restrictions for breweries (and many other businesses) in place until at least through that date.The San Diego Brewers Guild, which currently has more than 120 members, is keeping a running list on its website of which of its members are open – and at what capacity. Some craft breweries are open for curbside pickup only, some are shipping their products, some are open for modified hours – only when they can book a food truck or partner with a restaurant. You can check out that list here.Guest Interview: Paige McWey Acers, Executive Director of the San Diego Brewers GuildPaige McWey Acers has had a storied career in local beer. She speaks with Monica Garske and Candice Woo about San Diego’s craft brewing industry, including how San Diego Brewers Guild members are staying afloat in the choppy pandemic times.McWey Acers touches on how food is served at breweries these days and how brewers have pivoted. She also discusses the some of big challenges craft brewers are facing and what the industry needs right now from customers and local government.The reality is, the pandemic is having an impact on how San Diego’s craft brewing industry is operating and how it will operate in the future.San Diego Brewers Guild: The BEER FundTo help support local craft brewers in need during the pandemic, San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate and County Supervisor Jim Desmond -- have set up something called the BEER Fund, or “Breweries Experiencing Economic Roadblocks.” All donations to the fund directly benefit the San Diego Brewers Guild and will be distributed by the guild to local craft brewers experiencing financial hardship. You can donate to the BEER Fund here and read more about it here.Local Craft Breweries That Couldn’t Make It: Tasting Rooms That Have Permanently ClosedSadly, not all craft breweries will be able to survive the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The SDBG said several of its members have had to permanently shutter in recent months. This includes: Iron Fist in Vista and Barrio Logan; Escondido Brewing Company; Thunderhawk Alements in Miramar. Iron Fist operated in Vista for about 10 years and announced it was shutting down all operation in mid-May – even before this second wave of pandemic rollbacks in San Diego County.San Diego’s New Brewery: Puesto CerveceriaIn the midst of some breweries scaling back or even closing shop, we have seen the debut of a couple of breweries during the pandemic, including an ambitious restaurant, bar and brewery from Puesto in Mission Valley.Puesto Cerveceria is a 10,000-square-foot brewery/restaurant that replaces the Gordon Biersch brewpub. Puesto has eateries in La Jolla and The Headquarters at Seaport, but this is the Mexican restaurant’s first foray into brewing its own beer. The project was delayed due to several COVID-19 related issues, which also impacted its beer program.The Mission Valley brewery was originally set to open in April, but the pandemic delayed those plans. Puesto is making a variety of traditional Mexican-style lagers, which were ready to go for that planned April debut, but the beers had to be brewed all over again when the location’s opening was postponed.Ales can typically be brewed and consumed within a few weeks, but lagers need a slower fermentation process. Puesto said its freshly-brewed lagers will be available by August and will eventually be served at all the brand’s restaurants in California.Puesto spent $8 million on the Mission Valley brewery/restaurant but, due to current pandemic health restrictions in San Diego County, patrons can’t go inside just yet. To operate, Puesto – like all local restaurants right now – can move its dining room outdoors. The Mission Valley location has two big outdoor seating areas and has added a pop-up patio in the parking lot, for now.COVID-19 Collaboration Beer: San Diego Brewers Unite Double IPAAlthough it’s rough right now for craft breweries, guild members are still finding ways to help and support one another – very much in spirit of the industry.Earlier this month, Stone Brewing said it had collaborated with six prominent SDBG members – AleSmith; Modern Times; Mother Earth; Pizza Port; Port Brewing; and Thorn – to create a new beer that directly benefits the San Diego Brewers Guild as the organization continues to try to provide support to its 120+ member breweries.The San Diego Brewers United Double IPA was released last week and will be available for a limited time in California only. It comes in a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans and all proceeds benefit the San Diego Brewers Guild. Read more about that project here.For more content from The Scene, visit this website. For more content from Eater San Diego, click here. And, to read our collaboration content with Eater and The Scene every week, click here.The Scene in San Diego Feat. Eater Podcast is hosted by NBC 7’s Monica Garske and Eater San Diego’s Candice Woo, and produced by NBC 7’s Matthew Lewis.
In Episode 2 of Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater, we talk about the new wave of closures for local bars, breweries and restaurant dining rooms and the full shift toward outdoor dining as COVID-19 cases surge in San Diego County. This week we’re joined by John Resnick, the owner of renowned French bistro Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad, who spent the better part of June converting his restaurant into an all-outdoor bistro. Following safety guidelines and social distance protocols, Resnick turned his 1,200-square-foot parking lot on State Street into an al fresco dining room for a reservation-only, 5-course dining experience he calls, “Starry Night.” For more content from The Scene, visit this website. For more content from Eater San Diego, click here. And, to read our collaboration content with Eater and The Scene every week, click here.The Scene in San Diego Feat. Eater Podcast is hosted by NBC 7’s Monica Garske and Eater San Diego’s Candice Woo, and produced by NBC 7’s Matthew Lewis.
In our pilot episode of our podcast, Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater, we delve into the state of our local food scene in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. From face masks and plastic barriers to eating outside, San Diego’s restaurant scene is a new world – at least for now.· Why We’re Here: Here we are, launching our podcast in the middle of a pandemic. We never imagined our show would go in this direction. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, many local restaurants have reopened, adapted or entirely changed the way they operate. And, with those changes, there is so much to talk about. We want you to know that – just like you – we’re learning to navigate all this change, every day. It’s awkward. It’s difficult. It’s different. Let’s figure it out, together.· Hospitality, But How? With social distancing and other safety guidelines in place at local restaurants, the hospitality industry has been turned upside down. Candice often hears from restaurateurs that keeping the welcoming vibe of hospitality is a real challenge when there are literal masks and barriers keeping us apart inside restaurants. The conservations where restaurant employees have to enforce mask rules on patrons can’t be fun to have. We hear from San Diego’s own Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien about what it’s like out there for those who are trying to work in the hospitality industry. Sam The Cooking Guy currently runs two restaurants in San Diego, both in Little Italy: Not Not Tacos and Graze by Sam. Both eateries are up and running again and he explains how he’s being friendly to patrons – but from afar.· Streetside Dining in San Diego: The reopening of San Diego’s restaurants has brought much change, including dining al fresco in our city’s foodie hubs. Little Italy was the first community to pilot this program along parts of India Street – a perfect place for that European outdoor café vibe. You can read all about that here. A week later, the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego rolled out its outdoor dining plan, which closes a stretch of Fifth Avenue a few days a week to make room for eateries to extended their dining areas outside. Five restaurants joined that launch, including BarleyMash, Café Sevilla and El Chingon. Read all about that here. Oh, and if you’re wondering, exactly, what that streetside dining scene looked like in the Gaslamp Quarter, check this out. Liberty Station is also testing out the outdoor dining – and they have the space for it.· Extra Tips + Restaurant Restrictions: To help restaurants follow reduced capacity guideline, call ahead and make reservations. You might not always get the exact time you want, so be flexible. Remember to bring your face mask and wear it any time you’re not seated at your table. Temper your expectations; restaurant service is so different these days. As patrons, we should show patience and be kind. Everyone is doing their best to make this work with so many restrictions in place. Today, at all reopened dining rooms, you’ll spot signage with these new rules, social distancing, masks, and even physical barriers.· COVID-19 Case at Nolita Hall in Little Italy: The owner of Nolita Hall, Douglass Hamm, said one of his employees had tested positive for COVID-19 just a couple weeks after the restaurant reopened. Hamm said Nolita Hall would reopen on June 30. For now, any staff who came into contact with the infected employee is under self-quarantine. Hamm told the public about the COVID-19 case via social media, saying he wanted to be transparent and build trust with his customers and staff. Hamm said there’s no way for a restaurant owner to know what to do in a situation like this, but he thinks he did “the right thing.” · Community Outbreaks, Including at Restaurants: As more of San Diego reopens, a surge in COVID-19 cases is expected. And, now that people are going places, community outbreaks have followed. As of June 22, 2020, San Diego County health officials had tracked 10 community outbreaks in seven days, including two at local restaurants. Health officials won’t say which restaurants, though, citing privacy concerns.For more content from The Scene, visit this website. For more content from Eater San Diego, click here. And, to read our collaboration content with Eater and The Scene every week, click here.The Scene in San Diego Feat. Eater Podcast is hosted by NBC 7’s Monica Garske and Eater San Diego’s Candice Woo, and produced by NBC 7’s Matthew Lewis.